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Kasai's strikingly original but uneven debut posits a world where DNA has gone wild, producing Traders with amazing abilities and "somatics" with a mix of animal and human genes. Sorykah Minuit, a gender-switching Trader, arrives in the dirty, dangerous polar town of Ostara to meet her twin children and their nursemaid. She encounters an octopus-woman who tells her the children have been abducted by the Trader-torturing Collector. Passages of stunning imagery veer abruptly into purple prose as Sorykah heads into the perilous, icy wilderness, only to pause her maternal quest for an extended romp at an isolated pleasure-house. After a brush with death, she abruptly becomes a man with no memory of female life. Kasai's imaginative reach exceeds her grasp, and she squeezes in numerous intriguing ideas that languish only partially explored. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.